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Symantec Stakes Claim in Brightmail

Symantec Corp. Monday announced it took an $18 million equity stake in Brightmail Inc. to ramp up its e-mail security offerings.

The deal marries Brightmail's e-mail anti-virus software solution with Symantec's comprehensive virus library.

The investment, part of Brightmail's overall $35 million second-round pre-initial public offering financing, gives Symantec a seat on the board of directors and 11 percent equity stake.

Dana Siebert, Symantec service provider solutions division executive vice president and general manager, said the investment allows the anti-virus company to offer a more robust enterprise-level e-mail filtering solution.

"Symantec's $18-million investment is strong evidence of our confidence in Brightmail and the importance of e-mail security," Siebert said. "Brightmail and Symantec are already providing some of the world's largest service providers with an integrated anti-virus and anti-spam solution and anticipate opportunities to integrate our content filtering solutions as well."

After posting revenue gains of $191.4 last fiscal quarter, its sixth straight consecutive quarter in the black, Symantec is looking to gain more corporate acceptance in the marketplace.

With Brightmail's ties to companies like AT&T Worldnet, EarthLink Inc., and Juno Online Services Inc., Symantec gains a solid grip on supplying e-mail security services to Internet and applications service providers.

John Thompson, Symantec chairman, president and chief executive officer, said service providers would benefit from its partnership with Brightmail, which commenced in April.

"Symantec is integrating its award-winning content-security technology into the server-side infrastructure to ensure a base-level of security for all Internet users," Thompson said.

"Partnering with Brightmail to deliver an integrated solution enables ISPs and ASPs to easily extend their e-mail infrastructure to include anti-virus as an added benefit for their subscribers and further protect them from malicious activity."

According to a Gartner Group Inc. report, commissioned by Brightmail, service providers that enhance e-mail security offerings stand a better chance of decreasing customer churn and increasing subscriber loyalty.

The June 1999 report indicated that the longer customers remain with an ISP, the more spam, or unsolicited commerce e-mail, the customer is likely to receive. The report concluded that service providers that institute spam filtering options for subscribers can combat losing customers to spam.

More than half of the customer sampled in the report indicated that they had switched ISPs in the past. Not all of this disloyal behavior was attributable to the influence of excessive spamming. But for 7 percent of customers surveyed, spam was the main reason for switching service providers.



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